Historical Timeline of Homeland Security

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Historical Timeline of Homeland Security Incidents Events Along with the Call for Improved Preparedness, Response and Recovery Needs that Lead to the Creation of NIMs and the NRF Documents.

Since its start,   the Department of Homeland Security has been a federal institution responsible for the security of United States.  This department came as a counter measure to natural and manmade disasters that the United States can face. Among its key missions are, antiterrorism, cyber safety, border security, immigration and customs and disaster management. Its start came as a response to the September 11 attack (The United States, 2008).   There are many documents highlighting how the Department of Homeland Security was created.   In all the documents, this department is presented as integrating all federal departments and agencies to make a single unified and integrated institution.  After the September 11 attacks, the Pennsylvania Governor became the first Director of Homeland Security following an appointment.  His office was to bear the responsibilities of overseeing and coordinating a detailed national plan strategy to safeguard the public against terror, all types of disasters and responding to future attacks (Maniscalco & Christen, 2011).

After the Congress passed the Homeland Security Act in 2002, this Department became an independent institution responsible for coordination and unification of national security initiatives (The United States, 2008).  Irrespective of a disaster, the national government’s emergency management, and preparedness agencies must always give a response. This includes life loss reduction, property damage and helping the public to protect themselves against threats of nature or man-made.  This supports the whole country in a risk-based, efficient emergency management system with strategic protection, preparedness, response, recovery, and mitigation.

The NIMs

Natural and man-made disasters continue to threaten the public. Their occurrence always demands a comprehensive and wider strategy to handle them. Improved initiatives in preparedness, response and recovery always remain instrumental. After the lessons from the September 11 attack, the federal government needed a comprehensive strategy to handle similar situations.  Hence, NIM came to provide a comprehensive, national strategy to disaster management that applies to all jurisdictions as well as functional disciplines (The United States, 2008).  NIM works across an entire spectrum of likely disasters, threats and impacts, no matter their complexity, size or place.  It enhances coordination and cooperation between actors in disaster management and provides a common standard for holistic disaster management. Its importance lies in the ability to provide a consistent approach and strategy to enable Federal, State, and local, tribal, private as well as nongovernmental players to collaborate in preparation, prevention, response, recovery, and mitigation of disaster effects at any level. Utilization of NIMS provides a common groundwork for effectiveness in response initiative from one agency response to a multiagency, multijurisdictional disaster response. When agencies integrate the NIMS in planning and disaster management structures, they manage to reach a disaster situation with less notice, but they will be able to know the all procedures and protocols that regulate response, equipment expectation and personnel (The United States, 2008). Hence, in natural or man-made disasters, NIMS provides a unified approach to preparedness and response efforts which enable different actors to find ease in integration and establish a common command in a disaster situation.  The components of NIMS include Preparedness, Communications and Information Management, Resource Management, Command and Management and Continuous Management and Maintenance. All of them work across all disasters.


Enhanced preparedness, response, and recovery are important aspects of any disaster management (The United States, 2008).  The lessons from the September 11 terror attack, created a demand for a scalable, flexible and adaptable concepts to unify critical roles as well as responsibilities into a federal framework. NRF turned out to be a necessity in the National Preparedness System.  This document aimed at strengthening resilience as well as security through systematic preparation for threats posing greatest risks to Homeland (The United States, 2008). The NRF documents provide a principled way of developing, sustaining, and delivering core response capabilities in the Preparedness. It, therefore, provides a guide on how the country responds to different disasters and emergencies.  The NRF is based on scalable, flexible and adaptable concepts of the National Incident Management System to align critical roles and responsibilities nationally. It provides a framework that describes specific authorities and best practices needed in the managing of disaster incidents irrespective of scale. It contains principles, responsibilities and coordination structures that are important in the delivery of critical capabilities in disasters. It also guides response efforts interconnections in various mission areas. NRF is ever in effect with its elements remaining ready for execution at any time and situation (Alperen, 2011). The elements can be partially or fully be implemented in any hazard context, disaster anticipation, and response. Implementation of NRF elements selectively is important in that it gives scaled response, knit resources and capabilities delivery. It also provides incident-knit coordination.


In a disaster event, coordination structures that are multijurisdictional and manageable among different agencies actors remain important. NIMS and NRF are companion documents that enhance incident management and response capabilities. The NIMs provide a template for incident management irrespective of level while; the NRF document avails a comprehensive structure and steps for a national disaster response policy. Both the NIMS and NRF integrate all capabilities and input from diverse, disaster management, governmental levels, disaster response disciplines, NGOs and private agencies into a standard, coordinated and seamless national framework for disaster management.


Alperen, M. J. (2011). Foundations of Homeland Security: Law and Policy. Hoboken, N.J:           Wiley.

Maniscalco, P. M., & Christen, H. T. (2011). Homeland Security: Principles and practice of           terrorism response. Sudbury, Mass: Jones and Bartlett Publishers.

The United States, (2008): National response framework. Washington, D.C: U.S. Dept. of            Homeland Security.

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